Really need to help my partner with his mother!

Old 02-07-2011, 06:20 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
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Really need to help my partner with his mother!

I was looking for some advice regarding this situation that my partners going through. We're both at a bit of a loss but I'm hoping posting on here may help in some way.

My OH lives away from home and his mum drinks a lot at night to the point where she's totally intoxicated. Both his parents live quite an isolated life as they live in the country and I think this adds to the problem for her. The father though isn't remotely interested in her drinking and finds it all a big inconvenience and isn't prepared to help her in any way and is sometimes quite physical with her.

My OH's brother and sister have their own lives and aren't remotely interested in her problem either so my OH is trying to deal with this on his own and his mother won't admit that she has a problem and won't talk about it either.
This is really ruining my OH's life as it has been going on for 10 years now and I don't see any change with anything and it upsets me that it consumes him every minute of every day. Also when he speaks to his mum on the phone they usually go round and round in circles having the same conversations usually with my OH telling her that she was drunk last night and her denying it.

He has tried to get her to face up to it but she won't and because she is on medication for other things this only adds to her intoxication when drinking.

I know often people say not to ruin your own life and there's nothing you can do until the person admits that they need help but after ten years this hasn't happened and my OH would be happy to leave her to it if his dad wasn't being physical with her.

Is there anything he could do or do you really have to just wait till they admit that they have a problem because I worry that his life is going by in a stress induced haze because no one else will help him or her for that matter and he is the only person in the whole family who seems to be bothering to try and deal with the problem, although so far to no avail.
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:34 AM
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why not talk to his dad? he's the one beating her, right? is that what you mean by being physical? is that how he punishes her for drinking, by hitting her? damn, I'd be drinking too if that was the case or else I'd be planning to kill him.
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:22 AM
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I would suggest your husband begin attending Al-anon meetings. It will help immensely.

If his mother is elderly and enduring abuse he can call Adult Services and Aging (part of the Department of Social Services) and report the abuse. They will investigate. I'm in the US. Not sure how other countries are set up.

You could provide his mother with the numbers to Domestic Violence Hotlines and offer her a ride there if she is willing to go talk to them.

I hope someone with more experience with domestic violence comes along to give you some good information about how you might support her in that area.
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:37 PM
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Aware1, I agree with the others here that the comment that he is physical with her makes it sound like it is a problem with domestic violence...

Drinking can be one way that a victim of DV uses to 'escape' the reality of their situation. I'm not saying it's an excuse for alcoholism, just something to keep in mind: if there is DV, there is more that needs to be done besides just addressing the drinking. I'd also suggest that if OH's father is 'sometimes' physical with her, it is probably more often than the rest of the family is aware of. What the outside world (which is what the kids are now that they're no longer under the same roof) sees is just the tip of the problem usually.

To help OH's mom with the DV side:
  • If she does decide to talk about the DV, believe her and try to be non-judgemental (just know that may be hard to do if there is drinking invovled and be aware of reactions).
  • Don't be afraid to let her know you're concerned about her safety.
  • Let her know that it is a scary situation that she can get help with.
  • Encourage her to contact a DV resource (Adult Services and Aging, as Thumper said, if she is elderly)
A DV counselor would also be able to point her to recovery resources for alcoholism also.

To support your OH in dealing with his mom's alcoholism:
  • Suggest that he (and you since you have been affected by his mom's drinking also) try to attend a couple Al-Anon meetings.
  • Read up on the disease of alcoholism (I found the book "Under the Influence" by Milam and Ketcham to be very helpful.)
  • Read up on the concept of detaching (Another helpful book for me was "Letting Go with Love" by Julia H.
  • There are a lot of stickies at the top of the forum that contain so much information.
  • Maybe tell your OH about this site and encourage him to read around.

Welcome to SR, Aware1.
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